11 from 11

In the predictable rush to cover natural disasters, political upheaval and the fall of empires, many reviews of 2011 will no doubt fail to note our blogging exploits – so we've been forced to write our own.

Here are eleven posts from 2011:


1. The year began on a sad note with Mr Blog’s Valedictory Awards Show.


2. The valedictory mood continued with reflections on Rob McElwee’s disappearance from our daily lives.


3 & 4. February was poetry month – one about Asda launching a dating service, and one about the birth of a new Asbury (the defining moment of our year in a big and increasingly noisy way).


5. April saw ill-informed copywriters defacing a blind man’s sign.

6. May was all about the Creative Amnesty, a joint venture with Creative Review, which saw the great and good of the creative world sharing their worst ideas.


7. June was the month of 1,000 words.


8. July was The One With The Really Good Friends Advert.


9. September saw a rare venture into long-form blogging, with some reflections on wackaging and the trouble with copywriting.


10. October saw the unwrapping of WrapperRhymes.


11. And finally there was a salute to the greatest brand name of all time: Rotavator.


If you have been, thank you – and happy Christmas.

WrapperRhymes unwrapped


It’s National Poetry Day and I’ve realised I’ve never written on this blog about a poetry sideline I’ve been working on for a while.

WrapperRhymes is a collection of poems written on wrappers, inspired by a poem Ted Hughes wrote on a Tunnock’s Wrapper in 1986.

I came across the Ted Hughes poem via Twitter and fell into conversation about it with @byleaveswelive (the Scottish Poetry Library), @inpressbooks (independent poetry distributor Inpress Books), and @effektive (Glasgow design firm Effektive Studio). It became obvious that there were many more WrapperRhymes waiting to be written, so a site was born.

Greig Anderson at Effektive created the brand and website, and did a brilliant job of it. It has a clean, clinical look that contrasts nicely with the messy handwritten wrappers that form the content (often very poorly photographed by me).

What fascinates me about the whole thing is the idea of having an ‘original version’ of a poem. There’s a very direct relationship between the poem and its physical expression on the wrapper. It means each poem is a one-off – only one copy of it exists. This is something that poetry in general lacks – yes, there’s a certain thrill in owning a first edition of a book, but it’s usually still one of several hundred copies. But there’s something special about a poem that only properly exists in one form.

Hopefully one day we’ll put on an exhibition of the poems in their original state.

In the meantime, submissions are very welcome. You’ll see many of them are light-hearted tributes to their product, but I think there’s also scope for more oblique and personal poems – maybe using the brand name as a cue word for a poem on something entirely different. I’m convinced there’s a potential Waste Land to be written on a bumper bag of Wotsits.